NC Renewable Energy Challenge

Elementary, Middle, High School and College Students
Unfortunately, the 2021 NC Renewable Energy Challenge has been canceled, but we hope to host the event again in 2022. For more information about the Challenge in previous years, please see below.

The Coastal Studies Institute (CSI), in partnership with KidWind and Jennette’s Pier hosts the North Carolina Renewable Energy Challenge annually at the ECU Outer Banks Campus in Wanchese. Competing students must engineer an alternative energy device and compete against each other to create the most efficient design. The challenge strives to increase student interest in green technology and promote innovation, and it fosters 21st-century skills that better prepare students for the growing renewable energy industry.

The event includes wind turbine, solar, and ocean energy competitions with divisions to include graduate, undergraduate, high school, and middle and elementary school students.  The goal of the competition is to increase engineering solutions for the alternative energies available in North Carolina.  There is usually funding available for teams to travel to CSI. Finally, the top two teams in the solar and wind categories from the NC Renewable Energy Challenge event will be invited to the national KidWind competition.

NC Renewable Energy Challenge Rules & Guidelines

Wind & Solar: 2020 KidWind Challenge Manual, 2021 KIDWIND Rulebook; Ocean Energy: 2020 Ocean Energy Manual

Additional Ocean Energy Information

  1. North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Project – Learn about the work being done in North Carolina to harness energy from ocean waves and currents. 
  2. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Ocean Current Energy 
  3. BOEM Technology White Paper

* CSI Ocean Energy Lesson Plan focused on Faraday’s Law

Led by East Carolina University (ECU), The Coastal Studies Institute is a multi-institutional research and educational partnership of the UNC System including North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Wilmington, and Elizabeth City State University.


Based at the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI), the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program (NCROEP) advances inter-disciplinary marine energy solutions across UNC System partner colleges of engineering at NC State University, UNC Charlotte, and NC A&T University.


ECU’s Integrated Coastal Programs (ECU ICP) is a leader in coastal and marine research, education, and engagement.   ECU ICP includes the Coastal Studies Institute, ECU’s Department of Coastal Studies, and ECU Diving and Water Safety.


The faculty and staff at the Coastal Studies Institute come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, as well as departments and organizations including ECU Department of Biology, ECU Department of Coastal Studies, NC Sea Grant, the North Carolina Renewable Energy Program, and the UNC Institute for the Environment.


Tour the ECU Outer Banks Campus and learn about the research, education, and engagement projects of CSI and ECU Integrated Coastal Programs through our 360 virtual tour.


The ECU Outer Banks campus is home to the Coastal Studies Institute.
Located on Roanoke Island along the banks of the second largest estuary
in the United States, this coastal campus spans 213 acres of marshes, scrub wetlands, forested wetlands, and estuarine ecosystems.




Contact Us

Contact Info

The Coastal Studies Institute
850 NC 345
Wanchese, NC 27981


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